THIS is why I enjoy being a dad. My oldest, S, gave me a few early Father’s Day gifts. Go ahead. Grab a Kleenex. I did.
It’s amazing. As I write this, my “father” is STILL calling and texting me. For what? Money. At this point I don’t even answer or respond anymore. It’s not even worth it. No matter how many times I tell him that I can no longer send him money, he still calls and begs. For awhile, I was sending him money once a month, but now that I am divorced and trying to survive on my own I cannot. He will never understand that. Why? Because he is a knucklehead. Wait. Let’s rewind 25 + years to see how all of this came to be.
My “father” was at one point, a very talented hair stylist with a a very prosperous business in NY and then in FL. He was such a good hair stylist that his clients ignored him when he berated them. I used to sit in a chair at the salon and watch. Let’s not even get into me being the guinea pig for the Jheri Curl. Hence, my current bald head.
Before this, at some point, he married a beautiful woman (my mom) and had 2 kids. BUT that wasn’t good enough. Business was good, but he needed MORE money. From the age of 4 to 12, the only memories I have with my “father” is working in the salon or with his greyhound kennel raising venture. By the time I was 12, my “father” got into trouble with the law for trying to make “big money.” BTW, my “father” is Jamaican and was a naturalized citizen. I think. His citizenship was revoked and he was to be deported. No need to get into those details because they are blurry to me anyway. Again, this was 25 + years ago.
Anyway, my parents soon divorced and my mom remarried. I went to live with her and her new husband. He was cool and actually paid attention to me and he had cable. This was the 80′s. Cable was hot. Skinimax. Enough said.
Over the years, I had little contact with my “father” other than him calling me to see if I had money to help him out with his salon’s light bill or rent or various other things. I sent what I could, but once I went into the military, we really lost touch. I was very busy working, partying and defending my country and partying some more. Trying to find my own way into manhood. Not long after my eating sand in the desert days, my mom divorced for a second time. Awesome. BTW, my “father” was supposed to be deported by now, but he dodged the bullet once again. This is around 1991.
Fast forward to 1997. I graduate from college (on my own dime. My “father” fucked up my college money years ago with his legal expenses.) I landed my first design job 3 months before I graduate and my “father” has the nerve to attend my graduation and ask me, “So boy, how much money you making now?” My response? “Enough to take care of myself.” I wanted to say “Fuck you.” But I felt obligated by blood to say otherwise.
Fast forward to 2001. I get married and by 2005, I have 2 beautiful little girls. Between 1997 and 2005, I had very little contact with my “father” other than sending him money because he was always in “dire straits.”
Suddenly it’s 2008 and I find out that my “father” gets deported back to his home country for his “transgressions” 25+ years ago. Homeland Security is a bitch. I am not upset nor angered but somewhat relieved. Maybe he would leave me alone with the money requests. But wait. Hell no. Prepaid cell phones. He has one and he uses it like a lethal weapon. The endless calls and texting are mind numbing. He calls to ask about my kids but then it turns to “I am sick and dying and need money.” Sadly, he cannot even remember their names. He met my now 5 year old when she was 10 months old for like 5 minutes and had to leave for “business.” Both of my kids have no clue who he is.
So just today, he texts me once again for the 6th time this week, to ask me for money. At the end of the text, he says, I love you. WHAAAATTTT???????? He has NEVER EVER told me that he loved me in all of my 41 years. I respond via text that I can’t afford to send him any cash now. His text response back was: “If I had a choice, I would never ask your dead ass for anything, if I could help it!” Thanks “Dad.”
So with that, my Happy Father’s Day message to my “father” is, “Happy Father’s Day, thanks for teaching me to be the type of Dad NOT to be.”
Peace be with you old man. I’ll be busy trying to be the father you never were.